Decorative feature image about skills

How to write about skills and experience on your resume

The way you write about your skills and experience on your resume helps you stand out from other applicants.

Imagine you are a product sitting on a shelf waiting for someone to buy you. You are surrounded by other products that are pretty similar. What makes you different? Do you focus on price? Packaging? Ingredients? You can use your resume to communicate what sets you apart.

Meredith Gray from television show Gray's Anatomy asking for someone to pick her.

Give specific examples

The way you give specific examples depends on the type of job you’re going for. If you can use quantifiable examples to talk about your skills and experience on your resume, it will really drive your achievements home.

Quantifiable means you can measure or put a number to it. Here are some examples:

  • A developer could say they are fluent in 4 programming languages: SQL, Java, C++ and Python.
  • People who work in sales could say they added 6 new stockists worth more than $100,000 in yearly sales.
  • If you work in administration, you could say you re-negotiated an office supplies contract and reduced cost by 13%.

Use skills and experience keywords

Your skills and experience should reflect the key duties of the position you are applying for. That’s why it is important to always tailor your resume for the job you want.

What does that look like in practice? Let’s look at two job ads.

Job ad 1

Look at the highlighted text, it’s telling you exactly what to write about your skills and experience on your resume.

Snippet of a job ad for a senior writer, showing required skills and experience.
Job ad for a communications role

You need to mirror the highlighted words in your resume so it is picked up by keyword readers. You can do it in the description of a previous role, or in your personal summary.

Some examples of quantifiable descriptions of skills and experience related to this job could be:

  • Developed a communication campaign that increased website visits by 20% over 3 months.
  • Coordinated design and development of new brochure using Adobe InDesign. Negotiated a 5% price reduction with printing agency.

Job ad 2

For this job, the employer is clearly looking for someone who:

  • can work across different locations and timeframes
  • has experience in commercial and industrial environments
  • can lead a team
  • has specific tickets
Snippet of a job ad for a carpenter / team leader, showing required skills and experience.
Job ad for a carpenter / leading hand

An example of a quantifiable description of skills and experience related to this job could be:

  • Led a team of four carpenters and one apprentice on a large multi-unit construction project.

Use a different layout to show your skills and experience

Experts tell us the perfect resume should not exceed 4 pages. If you have a lot of skills and experience, it can be hard to fit it all on your resume.

Why not consider trying a new resume template that shows your skills and proficiency visually?

The example below from zety.com shows this approach is a neat way to communicate your skills, as well as grab the eye of a potential employer.

Example of using proficiency level diagram to communicate skills.
Example from zety.com

You can find an endless number of contemporary resume templates online. I’ve used Canva in the past and found it quite quick and easy.

Let us know in the comments what you do to make your resume stand out.

3 comments

  1. Hi Melissa, I found your article very helpful as I need to retrain in a new profession. By knowing what to look for in the advertised jobs and including them in my resume I hope to improve my chances of employment.
    I’ve have been out of the workforce since 2000 caring for my mother. Time now to restart my life.

    I will continue to follow your great advice.

    Warm regards,
    Lily Munday

    1. Hi Lily. I am glad you found the article helpful. Re-entering the workforce after a long break can be a bit daunting. I am not sure where you’re located (or if you’re over 45), but if you’re in Australia, I recommend you look into whether Career Transition Assistance could be right for you – https://jobsearch.gov.au/career-transition-assistance

      I wish you the best of luck. And, please let us know if there are any other topics you think would be helpful for us to cover in our blog.

      Kind regards
      Melissa

      1. Hey Melissa,

        Thanks for sharing this resource!

        I was wondering if I could add this to my resources page on a resume review volunteering initiative I have created?

        I have created a platform that provides free resume reviews by connecting industry professionals to all those individuals who have lost employment due to COVID-19.

        I’ve learnt that getting feedback on your CV from someone specific to your industry can be really valuable. We’ve had individuals from a wide range of industries benefit from this platform.

        Would love to hear your thoughts on this initiative.

        Best regards,
        Karan

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